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Judy Horacek is an award winning Australian cartoonist, children’s book illustrator and writer. In 2004, she and Mem Fox created Where is the Green Sheep? which became an instant children’s classic, and winner of the CBCA Gold Medal for Early Childhood. She has since done four books of her own that she has both written and illustrated, and three other books with Mem, Judy is an experienced presenter in schools, both talking about her own work and helping children to make their own drawings and stories. Her classes are always full of laughter and fun, and her enthusiasm is infectious.
I was born in Mooroopna, Victoria, but I only lived there for the eighteen months of my life, and then we moved back to Melbourne, where I’ve bounced around various Melbourne suburbs ever since, apart from a long stint living in Canberra.
I’ve done the usual run of part-time jobs, while at uni and while working out what I wanted to do with my life – waitress, kitchen hand, market research interviewer, laboratory assistant, library assistant, admin assistant and typist. I’m much better at doing what I do now.
My children’s books are always full of colour and humour. Unlikely mishaps and adventures happen to cute animals and humans, but there is always a happy ending (preferably with everyone asleep).
It was a concern for social justice, feminism and the environment that got me started with cartooning several decades ago, and those themes have remained part of my work till this day (because the battles still have to be fought). I also do jokes that are just plain silly, and I am a great lover of puns.
The highlight of my picture book career was winning the CBC Award for my first book with Mem Fox, Where is the Green Sheep?, and having two of my other books awarded Notable Status by CBCA, that is This & That (also with Mem Fox) and The Story of Growl (written and illustrated by me).
As far as cartooning, being nominated for two Walkley Awards for Best Cartoon was wonderful (that’s pretty rare for a freelancer).
My cartoons have been published all over the world, in various books and magazines and as greeting cards in Australia, the UK, the USA and Europe.
My picture books have been published in Australia, the United States and the UK and also (in translation) in Korea, Israel, China, New Zealand (in Maori) and Krygzstan.
I’m passionate about helping children to enjoy reading and to love books. I love making people laugh (both children and adults) and trying to make them think, and about trying to make the world a better place through my cartoons and my picture books (in different, but not completely unrelated, ways).
My cartoons have been popping up for years in various places – in newspapers, magazines, books, and on greeting cards, mugs, fridge magnets and teatowels. Lots of people recognize my cartoon of Woman with Altitude, showing a feisty female character standing on top of a mountain, ready to take on the world. My characters in both my cartoons and my children’s books are simply drawn but full of personality. And I created the original green sheep, a small etching that was the inspiration for the now beloved Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox and me.